Russia intends to spend around 1.3 trillion rubles ($44 billion) on economic and social projects in the Arctic until 2020, the Russian minister for regional development, Viktor Basargin, said in an interview with the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta published on Thursday.
The state budget is expected to provide some 503 billion rubles ($17 billion) to create new transportation corridors in the Arctic, develop new hydrocarbon deposits and social infrastructure, improve living standards of local population, maintain the environment and culture of indigenous peoples, the minister said.
Another 724 billion rubles ($24.5 billion) is planned to be taken from regional budgets, he said. Businesses are expected to provide another 80 billion rubles ($2.7 billion). The figures are yet to be confirmed.
Arctic territories, seen as the key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the center of mounting disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice, providing access to lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits.
Russia is planning to deploy a combined-arms force by 2020 to guard its political and economic interests in the Arctic.